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RockerChick14's avatar

Should I stay a vegetarian or become a pescetarian?

Asked by RockerChick14 (948 points ) April 11th, 2014 from iPhone

I’ve been a vegetarian for a year but lately I have been craving meat and it’s getting harder to fight it off so I’ve been thinking about becoming a pescetarian.

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31 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Only you can decide. If you crave meat maybe you are not getting enough protein, have you ever counted the grams you get? You might be low in iron and B12 too, have you had those checked? Do you still eat dairy and eggs? You can get enough vitamins and minerals from a vegetarian diet, I am not negative about being vegetarian or vegan, I fully support it, but you might try to key into why your body is craving it if you prefer not to eat any meat from philosophical or health reasons.

hominid's avatar

You could ask yourself why you are currently a vegetarian. If you are a vegetarian for health reasons, there are ways of eating fish (and other animals) in moderation and maintain good health. If you are a vegetarian for ethical reasons, you could look into fish and other meat that is raised in a (more) ethical way, rather than depending on factory-farmed animals.

Smitha's avatar

You crave what you body needs, so if you feel like having fish or meat then you better eat it. But nowadays most fish contains mercury, and mercury bio accumulates, so you need to be careful while buying fish. However, you shouldn’t completely switch your diet from vegetables to fish only, since it can be dangerous to your health.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If you’re craving something your body is trying to tell you something. I dealt with an old country veterinarian. He always used that philosophy in dealing with life.

whitenoise's avatar

I think fish are having a tougher challenge from us than our farm animals, at the moment…

Crave meat? Go for meat, but leave the poor fishies alone.

Kropotkin's avatar

I started as pescetarian, then went vegetarian, and finally back to pescetarian again. I like the smell and taste of fish and chips too much! It also makes it easier to balance one’s nutrients and obtain enough protein.

You can buy fish from sustainable sources, which I think should be a concern. The mercury content in fish varies—it’s more highly concentrated in larger fish higher up the food chain, but is acceptably low in other species that they’re safe to eat on a regular basis.

Fish are very distant cousins, and our common ancestor with them goes back to around 500,000,000 years—so you don’t have to feel like you’re eating a close relative.

As for “craving what the body needs”. I’ll remember that the next time I hear someone craving for pizza or ice cream.

syz's avatar

If you do eat fish, consider following guidelines that will steer you away from over-harvested, unsustainable catches.

gailcalled's avatar

“Vegetarian” traditionally means eating everything but meat.

“Vegan” means eating no animal products (no meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and poultry).

Pescatarian (sp.)

Try eggs from local free-range chickens or cheese from cows who graze on grass near you.

Up your intake of the various beans.

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GloPro's avatar

There are some proteins that are only found in animal flesh that are very good for you. Lots of people have very healthy diets without those proteins, but there may be a reason beyond psychology that you are craving meat.
Try it. You can always go back to what you know now.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I was under the assumption that being vegan was healthy. I was wrong. You don’t have to have any kind of (______) diet you just have eat healthy. Pesco is not a bad way to go however but do be selective on the fish you eat. Cast an evil eye on anything that may have a questionable source. If you can’t verify then don’t eat it.

JLeslie's avatar

@GloPro What “proteins” can’t you get from other sources besides meat? You can’t get “meat” protein, but you can get all essential amino acids which is what our bodies break the protein down into.

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GloPro's avatar

@JLeslie Here is an article that clearly explains the differences, pros and cons for plant and animal proteins. I did not say you can’t have a balanced diet without meat. You cannot deny that animal proteins are only found from animal meat. That was all I said.
The OP was the one acknowledging a craving for meat, which I understand. This was simply a suggestion as to why. Maybe it’s iron, too. Yes it is also in plants, but I crave meat for iron. I’m not poo-poo’ing a vegetarian diet.

ibstubro's avatar

I started as vegetarian, then went to pescetarian. Veg maybe 12–17 years, then pescetarian 5–7. Mostly it was because I got so tired of people making such a huge deal about eating out. Like I ruined the party because I didn’t eat the flesh of animals. The horror of not being able to eat at the steak house!

I kept pet fish when I was a kid, and never got so attached that I would have starved rather than eat them. Gone really hungry, for that matter.

gailcalled's avatar

Strict vegans do need a B12 supplement.

JLeslie's avatar

@GloPro That article does not say there is a difference in the proteins. Animal protein is a complete protein. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains often are incompete proteins. So, all you have to do is eat a good variety of the “vegetarian” stuff to get the complete protein. Dairy and eggs are complete, so if you are lacto-ovo you are all set. The protein in foods break down into amino acids and that is how we store it in our bodies. A complete protein has 20 amino acids if I remember correctly from school (college was many years ago). Missing some of those amino acids is a problem, and that is the concern with a vegan diet, or it was, because meat you know for sure you get all 20. The amino acids are not different between meat and other sources.

If you prefer not to eat meat green leafy veggies are high in iron. I think raisins have a good amount also. I am iron dificient without supplements, meat never gives me enough, I don’t think any food will give me enough. Just another thing I deal with.

gailcalled's avatar

“Certain traditional dishes, such as Mexican corn and beans, Japanese soybeans and rice, and Cajun red beans and rice, combine grains with legumes to provide a meal that is high in all essential amino acids.” Source

GloPro's avatar

@JLeslie Here is an article discussing the difference in animal vs. plant proteins. I honestly don’t care, I am not a dietician nor a biologist nor a walking encyclopedia. I was only giving the OP a response with a theory as to why they may be craving meat. Again, I am not disagreeing with your assessment of a vegetarian diet. I’m just getting tired of constantly having to defend every opinion made on this site.

whitenoise's avatar

Don’t we have India…. There are a couple of hundred vegetarians there. They seem to do okay…

So… Go out ot eat at Indian restaurants… A lot of great veggie dishes.

rojo's avatar

“But It’s ok to eat fish
‘cause they don’t have any feelings.”

Kurt Cobain

And they taste good me

JLeslie's avatar

@GloPro You don’t have to defend it. I was just interested in what might be the difference. As far as I knew there was no difference. You didn’t have to go hunting for articles, but I appreciate it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

If you crave what your body needs then I wonder what my body needed the other day when I was craving Twizzlers.

ibstubro's avatar

And you don’t mention why you became a vegetarian in the first place, @RockerChick14. A crucial factor in giving a pertinent reply.

flip86's avatar

If you want meat, just eat it. No need to feel any guilt. I don’t. How could I when it tastes so darn good?

hominid's avatar

@ibstubro: “And you don’t mention why you became a vegetarian in the first place, @RockerChick14. A crucial factor in giving a pertinent reply.”

Exactly. If there is one rule I would like to enforce here, it would be that someone can’t just post a question and never return, despite the fact that everyone here is attempting to come up with thoughtful answers but need some elaboration.

@flip86: “If you want meat, just eat it. No need to feel any guilt. I don’t. How could I when it tastes so darn good?”

We still don’t know what motivated OP’s vegetarianism. But if it was a matter of ethics, there sure are legitimate issues that she could feel guilty about.

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Kardamom's avatar

I haven’t yet read any of the answers, but will do so after posting.

It totally depends upon why you decided to become a vegetarian. I think a lot of people try vegetarianism because it tends to be a healthier diet.

I am one of those people that believe that it is not necessary (in this day and age) to kill and eat animals. I never disliked the taste or texture of meat, but for me, killing and eating animals is a very cruel way to live, in the absence of necessity. I try to live my life by doing the least amount of harm. But that’s just me. My way is not necessarily the best way or the right way, but it is the right way for me.

I have found other things, vegetarian things, that taste divine to me. Things that I would never have bothered to try, before I became a vegetarian. I guess I never really had cravings for meat after I gave it up, although some items still smell good to me and make me salivate, but I’m totally fine and content to enjoy the scent without having to jones for the actual food itself. It’s like the scent of pine, or a campfire, or an ocean breeze, something wonderful to smell, but it’s not something you eat.

Being a vegetarian is hard. Mostly because I have to do a lot of work and research, and I have to answer a lot of ignorant/instrusive inquisitive questions from people who don’t share or understand my way of life. But for me, the reason behind why I am a vegetarian makes it much easier to live this way, than it would be for someone who is just going veg to eat healthier.

You need to decide why you decided to become a vegetarian in the first place.

If it was simply to have a healthier diet, then go ahead and add the meat (which includes fish) back into your diet, just make sure you eat lean meats, fish that is not high in mercury levels, and food that is prepared in healthy ways, along with your fruits and veggies. Health-wise you’ll be fine.

If you are more like me and wish not to consume, or contribute to the death, of other living beings, then it’s going to be a lot harder for you, until you do a lot of soul searching. Cravings come and go. Find stuff that you like, not necessarily substitutes, but other vegetarian foods that you love, maybe stuff you’ve never tried before. You can also experiment with substitutes, there’s a lot of tasty fake meat products available today, that weren’t available 25 years ago, when I became a vegetarian.

If you need any suggestions let me know. If you decide not to be a vegetarian any more, don’t beat yourself up, most people fall off the bandwagon.

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